We’ve been lucky enough to call Brisbane home for eight years now - and in the last three or four years I’ve become obsessed with finding the best places to eat and drink. It’s become a really fun hobby, and I always love recommending places to people.
With that in mind I wanted to share some of my favourite places to eat, drink and be merry in Brisbane. It’s a reasonably big city (hush now all you Sydneysiders - I know it’s smaller than Sydney) so I’ve decided to divide it into suburbs. I’ll also do my best to keep it updated as I discover new places (and say farewell to old ones).
Pre P.S. Most of the photos are going to be from Instagram as I rarely take my big camera out when it’s not an event - so apologies in advance for the photo quality.
First up is Fortitude Valley. It’s got a reputation as the place to party in the city - and that’s definitely correct, but it also has a great bar scene (including my favourite bar in Brisbane). So if you’re looking for a more chilled night out - this guide to the Valley is for you.
I almost don’t want to tell you about Greaser because it’s my favourite bar in Brisbane and I like that I can always get a table. The theme in Greaser is The Outsiders (yes that book you read in high school) so the menu is heavy on burgers and fried chicken, the live bands are normally swing or jazz, and it’s got that speakeasy vibe (helped by the fact it’s underground and you have to walk through a creepy alley to get there).
Heya is inspired by the street food of South East Asia and the tiny bars found in the Golden Gai district in Tokyo. There’s lots of hidden corners to be found in the venue, and the odd secret bar as well. The food is really good - I recommend the cheeseburger spring rolls personally and there is a great range of alcohol behind the bar. It’s a fun place to go for drinks with friends on a Saturday night.
When I first moved to Brisbane I was surprised to learn that in the eighties and nineties the police were universally considered corrupt scum bags. All that ended with the Fitzgerald Inquiry, and that’s where Les Bubbles comes in. At its height the “bathhouse” where Les Bubbles now stands was a brothel and illegal casino where the high ups would come to - ahem - have “meetings”.
Les Bubbles (regretfully) would like to inform you that they are no longer a brothel - but their speciality is still meat - steak frites to be more specific. When I say specialty I mean it - they do one thing, but they do it perfectly. It’s probably the best steak you will eat in your life, and they serve it with bottomless fries, an amazing salad and a range of sauces. Don’t panic though if you’re vegetarian or pescatarian, you’re still welcome and they’ll happily tell you what the dish of the day is if you don’t consume meat. The ambience is perfect, the food is delicious, the wine range is excellent. Definitely don’t eat lunch before going so you can enjoy the experience fully. Bonus points if you head downstairs to the bathhouse for pre (or post) drinks. They still have the hot tub up and running and serve cocktails and snack food.
I love Bloodhound for pre-drinks before heading out to dinner. It’s got a great cocktail menu and a rotating range of interesting beers on tap. It can get pretty packed on the weekend, so head in early if you want a table, otherwise you might have to accept standing around. The food is tasty, but expensive for what you get, which is why I don’t really recommend it as a dinner place.